Mass. oyster farmer scores court victory

MASHPEE – Homeowners objecting to a proposed oyster farm in Popponesset Bay have lost another legal avenue in their attempt to stop the project.
 
The Supreme Judicial Court has declined to weigh in on the claim that the Cape Cod Commission must review the aquaculture project because it is a commercial development, an argument rejected in May by the Appeals Court. The SJC voted Aug. 1 to offer no further review of the matter; the notice of the vote was issued late last week, said J. Patrick Costello, Mashpee town counsel.
 
Richard Cook has been locked in a three-year legal battle with homeowners in the area of the bay who have called his proposed 1.9-acre oyster farm a nuisance and potential safety hazard. Cook has worked another shellfish grant in Mashpee’s Ockway Bay since 1983. He has won local and state regulatory approval for the Popponesset Bay project but its launch has been stymied by the lawsuits.
 
Monday, Cook said that he believes he will be farming oysters in Popponesset Bay next year.
 
“I’m happy the (SJC) decided to uphold the Appeals Court case and not go forward with the appeals,” he said. “I’m a little bit closer.”
 
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